Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s hand-on leadership hit a new high in April when he ran into a burning building to save a neighbor. Before that, he used his Twitter feed as social media 311, personally digging out Newark residents after a freak storm hit the state two winters ago. Booker’s Senate plans ensure he won’t be challenging the Republican Governor Chris Christie, whose approval ratings have skyrocketed since super-storm Sandy hit.
During his term, Booker orchestrated a $100 million donation from Mark Zuckerberg to Newark’s school system, brought crime down, saw Newark’s population grow for the first time in decades, and cut the budget deficit significantly. Some expect him to eye even higher office. “He’s very bright. He’s probably seen by the Obama people as among the best of the up-and-comers” in the Democratic Party, Carl Golden, an analyst with the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy in New Jersey, told the Los Angeles Times.